'Ongoing criminal investigation,' resignation of chairman lead to cancellation of Kraut Fest 2019

Kraut Fest

FRANKSVILLE -- Kraut Fest, the popular summer festival in Racine County, was canceled unexpectedly, with Village of Caledonia officials confirming a former village employee and festival chair was at the center of a criminal investigation.

Re-founded in 2015, Kraut Fest was canned for 2019. Officials confirmed there would be no kraut, music or fest at Caledonia-Mount Pleasant Memorial Park off County Road K in Franksville.

On Monday, April 29, the festival's website was offline, but archived versions and social media accounts showed a full billing for the June 7 weekend, including Flock of Seagulls and Spin Doctors.

Kraut Fest

Caledonia-Mount Pleasant Memorial Park

In a letter posted to the festival's Facebook page on Friday, April 26, the Kraut Music Fest Committee cited "circumstances beyond our control," the "resignation of the parks supervisor and Kraut Music Fest chair" and valuable time lost "to continue planning and secure adequate sponsorship," with questions about the cancellation to be directed to Village of Caledonia officials.

When FOX6 New called Village Administrator Tom Christensen, he declined to talk on camera, but said he is "aware there is an ongoing criminal investigation" involving the former Caledonia-Mount Pleasant Memorial Park Director and Festival Chairman Jim Svoboda.

Christensen would not release Svoboda's resignation email, calling it a personnel matter.

Mount Pleasant Village Administrator Maureen Murphy and Mount Pleasant police, who are handling the investigation, declined to comment, citing the ongoing investigation.